Hobson's Choice: Tesla Slashing Interior Options for Big-bucks Models

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
hobson s choice tesla slashing interior options for big bucks models

Back in September, the House of Elon decreed the Model 3 would be available in fewer colors, an apparent effort to streamline production of the company’s first high-production model. By restricting two of the seven hues – Obsidian Black and Metallic Silver – to special request status, it is arguable easier to move more machines out the factory (tent) door.

Now, option limitations are being applied to the megabuck Model S and X as well. Musk announced yesterday – via tweet, of course – that “many” interior configurations will not be available after the end of this month.

Your author will opine here that this is a kick in the nadgers to anyone paying near to or in excess of $100,000 for a new vehicle. Such a sum at just about any other automaker will assure shoppers a wide variety of options. In Ingolstadt, the Audi Exclusive program allows access to a wide portfolio of paints, leather colors, and wood inlays.

But back to Tesla. It wasn’t wholly surprising when the company chopped the number of readily available exterior shades on the Model 3; after all, when one is trying to make as many of the things as possible, a smaller number of colors being loaded into the paint gun will surely speed things up. The move is a bit surprising on the X and S, given their lower production numbers and higher price tag.

To simplify production, many Tesla Model S & X interior configs, will no longer be available after Nov 1. Order now to be sure of the one you want.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 23, 2018

Right now, the Model S and X P100D interiors can be configured as black with brown ash wood trim or white with dark ash wood trim. Both colors can, for $250, have carbon fiber trim substituted for the wooden inlays. That’s a quartet of options, then.

On the 100D and 75D, customers are with black textile seats and dark ash trim as standard equipment. For extra cheddar (to the tune of $3,300), one may select from the “Premium” menu:

  • white with dark ash trim
  • black with brown ash trim
  • ibid but with a tan headliner
  • cream with light trim

Layer on the choice of carbon fiber, and that’s no fewer than eight different interior configurations, nine if you count the textile option. That is a lot.

It would not be surprising to find at least the cream color to have vanished after the end of this month, along with perhaps the black/tan headliner combo. However, given Musk’s use of the word “many” to describe the number of options on the chopping block, it is entirely possible that selection will be limited to either black or white seats with either dark ash or carbon fiber trim. That’s our fearless prediction.

Henry Ford’s 1909 missive of “any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black” still applies in 2018.

[Images: Tesla]

Join the conversation
2 of 14 comments
  • Buickman Buickman on Oct 24, 2018

    unsafe at any color.

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on Oct 24, 2018

    "Henry Ford’s 1909 missive of 'any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black' still applies in 2018." Ford said that in 1909, but it wasn't implemented until 1914, when all Ts were first painted black, into 1926, when other color options reappeared. Before 1914, black wasn't even an option - Ts were first offered in gray, green, blue, or red, depending on body style, and all cars in 1912 and 1913 were midnight blue, with black fenders.

  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.
  • Tassos I clearly have no sentimental attachment to any cars from the 80s. I myself drove a Dasher (passat) wagon with horrible reliability, and then a Pontiac 2000, very fuel efficient for its time with its 1.8 lt and 5 speed, but a small econobox crudely made, with no luxuries inside. But most other cars of the era were really CRAPPY, unsafe, both in terms of passive AND active safety, had very few options modern cars have, etc etc. The best car I owned then was a 1991 Honda Civic 5-sp hatch, but that was also an 80s design that was on sale from 1987-1991. Not just the domestics were crappy then, but so were m ost of the imports. As you can see, I have ZERO "nostalgia" for any of these, especially not for the unreliable, poorly made JUNK from DATSUN-NISSAN, which is widely reviled overseas as a maker of small pickup trucks that are the favorites of Gypsies selling watermelons from their bed.
  • Tassos While Acura was the first Japanese attempt to sell 'luxury' (or "premium") vehicles in the US market, and despite its original good success in the near-luxury segment with the Legend and the far smaller and less expensive Itegra (a glorified Civic), it later lost its momentum and offered a series of underwhelming vehicles. It sure is not a LUXURY maker, and as long as it offers FWD or AWD and NOT RWD vehicles, it will never be taken seriously as a serious sports cars maker. Infiniti is much worse, and if both of them go under, few will notice. Lexus was more successful, offering pimped up TOyotas for 10,000s more, but there is NO vehicle in their lineup, esp now that they scewed up the only serious entry (the LS), that I would care to consider. AND I say all this as a very satisfied owner of 5-speed Honda coupes and hatchbacks (a 1991 Civic hatch and a 1990 Accord Coupe).
  • Mike Beranek Yet another reason to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles charged with energy from wind & solar with modern, non-Monty Burns nuclear as a backup.